For its third year, Time Out has named the coolest neighbourhoods around the world, and Hong Kong's back garden, Sai Kung, nabs the 9th spot on the list. Just like the past years, we quizzed 27,000 city-dwellers and asked local experts to come up with our annual ranking of the world's coolest districts. The Time Out Index survey results were combined with the expertise of our local editors, and neighbourhoods were chosen not only for all the cool stuff that it represents but also the kind stuff that affects its communities and the environment.
All over the world, climate change has already had observable effects on the environment, and with the pandemic continuously changing our communities, this year's listing ranks places not only because it is hip and happening but also due to its strong sense of community, inclusivity, sustainability, and environmentalism. It recognises places thinking and planning for the future and making life a little bit better for its communities.
Last year Sham Shui Po was Hong Kong's coolest neighbourhood because of the strong community spirit that it reflected due to the times. This year, Sai Kung is representing the city for its laidback lifestyle, verdant escapes, and for being a community that fosters healthy and sustainable living. Aside from enjoying spacious living options (which is a scarcity in our city), living in Sai Kung district feels like you're always on a holiday because the neighbourhood is surrounded by idyllic beaches, abundant green spaces, and picturesque hiking trails. Along with all sorts of water sports and activities – that tourists may not necessarily picture themselves doing in Hong Kong – the area offers a lot of al fresco drinking and dining experiences, as well as green living choices with numerous organic farms, health food shops, eco-friendly venues, and zero-waste shops. And with HKwalls’ annual street art festival giving the area a colourful makeover with 18 new murals this year, the creative spirit and street art culture is well and truly alive here. Over the years, we have seen eco-warriors pop-up in the district, making small but big ripples in the state of the city's sustainability and environment, which includes environmental community groups like Friends of Sai Kung (FSK), who regularly conducts beach cleanups, monthly recycling events, and seminars to preserve Sai Kung's environment.
We are proud to see Sai Kung representing Hong Kong to the world in line with neighbourhoods such as Nørrebro, Copenhagen, Andersonville, Chicago, Jongno 3-ga, Seoul, Richmond, Melbourne, among others.
Want to explore Sai Kung today? Visit this link for our guide to the best places to see, things to do, and where to eat and drink in the district.
If you want to know which neighbourhood around the world made the cut, read our full ranking of the 49 coolest neighbourhoods in the world.